Real Time WWII, Lucas-isms and Writing Tips

Today’s blog will move  from serious and poignant to more humourous. Good to have a plan.

Ten years ago George Harrison died, wonderful talented man, so in tribute, “Here comes the Sun…”

I found a fascinating site on Twitter called RealTime WWII. They tweet about things that were happening on this date in WWII in real-time and for the next six years. At the moment they are up to December 4th 1939 and Russia is invading Finland. Three months ago England declared war on Germany and the phony war is on. You learn SO much fascinating detail by reading these tweets…I shall give you a few examples:

“Finns are evacuating & devastating areas threatened by Soviet advance – no cover for invading troops. Buildings burnt, wells poisoned.”

  “1 woman has left matches & wood for troops to burn her newly cleaned house: “When one gives a gift to Finland, one desires it be like new. ”

“Finns joke about huge Russian invading armies: “They are so many, and our country is so small, where shall we find room to bury them all?”
“Villages have been filled with landmines, with detonators set under toilet seats, doorways & beds. Wells poisoned or fouled with sewage.”
“Over 1000 Jews from towns of Hrubieszow & Chelm, occupied Poland, are being marched “to a work camp” by SS troops.”
“Hirsch Pachter is one of the Jewish marchers: “They gave an order not to speak, not to look around. Anyone violating the order will be shot.”
“Today 3 Jews were being led away when a man said: ‘Leave my father alone, I will take his place’. ‘You come along too’. All 4 were shot”
“A young girl was running after us, shouting ‘Daddy!’. SS took her away at the 1st village. I didn’t see what happened, but I heard a shot”
If you want to follow and watch the war unfold, you will find them at the link below. Why should we bother with things like this? Because those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
On a lighter note we had a lovely Church service this morning. Our vicar, Andrew, is a man in his thirties with three young kids, a great wife and a large dog. He has such a lovely, inclusive, down-to-earth attitude and his sermons always challenge and entertain me. He was talking about John the Baptist in the wilderness today and he used the Bear Grylls reality show to illustrate some of his points. He gets the kids to come forward at the start of the service so we can pray for them and then they go to Sunday School. After the sermon and before Holy Communion they all come back and sit with their parents. At the end of the service he gets them to come forward and gives them the mic so they can tell us about what they learned. This little boy of about six had a monster mask and he said he’d made a monster and now he was going to destroy it. “And how are you going to do that?’ Andrew asked with enthusiasm. “Using my superpowers!,” says the kid. They learned about having a clean heart and many of the kids were using their superpower to zap bad things. Wow, Sunday school has come a LONG way since I was a kid.
Friday, I was in the car with Lucas and he said, out of the blue, “do you know what I’m going to do when I’m sixteen?” “No, what?” “Open a restaurant!” We established it was a salad restaurant and it would be called ‘Super Duper Salad” and it would serve mega salads that cost $50 and banana splits. Almost home he decided that his role would be as a waiter. He wanted to serve people food. He also wants to take guitar lessons and become a rock star and hold concerts and be a paleontologist and a volcanologist. It is good to have plans.
My favourite Lucas conversation of the week was when I asked him about the new friend he’d told me about the day before.
“Did you play with Michaela today?”
“She forgot my name.”
“Oh well, new friends do that sometimes.”
“She forgot my name six times.”
“Maybe she is an absent minded friend.”
“I don’ think she’s going to be a friend…more of an acquaintance.”
Part three of the “Famous Writers Share Their Secrets” comes from Margaret Attwood:
1 Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can’t sharpen it on the plane, because you can’t take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils

2 If both pencils break, you can do a rough sharpening job with a nail file of the metal or glass type.

3 Take something to write on. Paper is good. In a pinch, pieces of wood or your arm will do.

4 If you’re using a computer, always safeguard new text with a memory stick.

5 Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.

6 Hold the reader’s attention. (This is likely to work better if you can hold your own.) But you don’t know who the reader is, so it’s like shooting fish with a slingshot in the dark. What fascinates A will bore the pants off  B.

7 You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but essentially you’re on your own. Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.

8 You can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You’ve been backstage. You’ve seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a romantic relationship, unless you want to break up.

9 Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.

10 Prayer might work. Or reading something else. Or a constant visualisation of the holy grail that is the finished, published version of your resplendent book.

(I say Amen to that)


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